View Full Version : Black & white photography question

David Smith
28-08-09, 13:27
As bird/nature photgrapher first I tend to stick to standard/normal settings. However I have been asked to take a few black & white photographs at a wedding with a B&W theme (I stress-not as THE PHOTOGRAPHER....just for a family group) and wonder am I best..........
a) altering the camera to the B&W setting or
b) taking as normal and altering in PS3 or Fotofiltre
Camera will be Canon 40D
I did post this on BirdForum then thought ah! WorldPhotography should have been first stop.
Thank you.

28-08-09, 13:33
David, I would take it in colour and process it as to how you want it you will have a lot more control. I am not sure but I think you could lose some of the tonal range if its done in the camera its not like the old film days where you had a full tonal range. I may be wrong so wait and see if anyone else can give you advise.

28-08-09, 15:56
I agree with Christine, take the image in colour, preferably in RAW format, and process into B&W on the PC afterwards.

If you take the picture in B&W using the camera's built-in B&W mode, it will decide how to do the processing, and then you're stuck with what the software engineers at Canon thought was best. If you take in colour, you can decide how to process the mono effect.

If you take the pictures in RAW format, you have complete control. You can convert the raw files using the bundled software that came with the camera to be just like the jpegs you (may) normally take. You can use the same software to process them on the PC as though you'd shot in-camera B&W. The difference is, by shooting raw, you have the "master" file that you can process any way you like. If you have a jpeg, you're stuck with that as a "master".

You can always go from raw to jpeg (colour or mono), you can't go mono to colour and you can't go jpeg to raw. If you shoot raw+jpeg, in-camera, you have the best of both worlds.

There's plenty of mono processing tutorials and photoshop add-ons, my own favourite for quick and dirty mono processing are the conversion actions and toning actions you'll find here:
If you're a bit daunted by using actions, a primer is here:

Hope this helps.


28-08-09, 18:21
I agree with the others, you will get better results and all options are open to you if you shoot colour, ideally in RAW, then process.

David Smith
29-08-09, 09:49
Thank you for that advice-I was leaning towards those thoughts but had no experience.
Although I have very little experience shooting RAW I have to 'get my feet wet' some time so this will be it.
Duncan-thanks for the web links.

I also have a question on flash technique and will post that in the appropriate section.